Is Pensacola Fire Department top heavy?

Council President Maren Deweese wants to bring back the fire rescue units. If her facts hold up, she has a compelling case. If the rest of the city council and the firefighters truly believe this is a safety issue, then an independent panel -similar to port and pension advisories – needs to review it and see how other Florida cities are coping with the regulations. Pensacola isn’t the only city faced with a tight budget.

The collective bargaining agreement may have to be reopened and a look taken at the positions, leaves and shifts. Maybe consolidation of fire services is the answer.

I have started reviewing what fire departments do in other Florida city’s of similar size and population. Direct comparison are always difficult but they do show there may be other ways to better utilize current dollars and personnel.

At first glance, the Pensacola Fire Department appears to be top heavy, especially when you compare it to the City of Kissimmee. Look at the the number of Captains and Engineers compared to Kissimmee. The Kissimmee firefighters are cross-trained as EMTs and Paramedics–which could be a revenue source to the city if it charged insurance companies for its services.

Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County, Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 59,682. City area: 17.32 sq. mi. of which Land 16.68 sq. mi.

Proposed fire budget: $10,720,024
Fire personnel: 105

Fire Chief 1
Deputy Chief 1
Administrative Assistant 1
Fire Inspector 2
Services Chief 1
Billing/Insurance Specialist 1
EMS Chief 1
EMS Lt 1
Training Coordinator 1
Clerk Technician 2
Battalion Chief 3
Lieutenant 15
Engineer 15
Firefighter/Paramedic 37
Firefighter/EMT 20
Health & Safety Officer 3
Pensacola: as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752. City area: – City 39.7 sq mi. of which Land is 22.7 sq. mi.

Proposed fire budget: $10,298,100
Fire personnel: 110

Fire Chief 1
Deputy Chief 2
Administrative Officer 1
Battalion Chief 4
Fire Captains II 15
Fire Captain I 18
Fire Engineer 28
Professional Firefighters 33